26 Aug 2020
Your house can only be as big as the plot it’s on. Or, in the case of the footprint clause surrounding replacement dwellings, you will actually be given a limit on your home's footprint. With this in mind, it can be a good idea to think about how to make the most of the space you have.
The good news for self builders is that most self builds are naturally bigger than developer houses, and using timber frame also contributes to the available space in your home because walls are thinner than in a masonry build. If you still want to maximise the space in your home, there are loads of tips and tricks you can do to add a sense of space to your rooms.
This isn’t to say that you can’t incorporate dark colours if you prefer them, but if you particularly want to enhance the spaces in your home, opt for lighter colours to make them seem larger. That goes for floors, walls, and furniture, but just one of those would instantly make a room feel larger if the all-over pastel look isn’t your preference. Light colours are a particularly good idea in smaller, darker rooms; a hallway, for example. If you've got a spacious lounge, by all means use darker colours there, but for a hallway or porch that might not have as much natural light, opting for light-coloured walls or floors can really lift the space.
Built-in furniture looks great, but it can make a room feel smaller. Floating and standalone furniture – particularly in bathrooms, which tend to be the smallest rooms in a house anyway – can really make a difference. Similarly, armchairs, sofas, and beds that are raised up on legs also create an illusion of more space. So if you want to use dark tiles in your bathroom, for example, but still want to make the space feel generous, floating furniture will counteract the effect of a dark floor.
Since light equals space, having a staircase with open risers will make a room feel much brighter. And even though the space between stair treads is rather small, opening up the whole staircase with open risers can make a huge difference in how large a room feels. This comes in particularly handy if your stairs are in a hallway or smaller room.
Clutter takes up space and can make a good-sized room seem smaller. This is particularly applicable to kitchens, where you often find a lot of small appliances taking up counter space. Smart storage ideas, like rotating shelving hidden away in the corner cupboards or full-length pull-out shelves, can hide away your toaster etc and make your kitchen seem larger and tidier!
Consider open plan
It makes sense that the fewer walls you have, the bigger your living spaces will feel. An open-plan living, kitchen and dining room will make the most of your space. Open plans aren’t for everyone, though, and you don’t want the space to end up looking empty if you don’t have enough furniture to fill it.
Focus your lighting
Using one down-focused ceiling light draws light in the middle of the room and can make it feel smaller at the edges. Placing table or standing lamps around the room, particularly focusing on corners, will achieve the opposite effect and instead brighten up all the space. Alternatively, go for equidistant wall lights rather than one central ceiling light.